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Vol 40  No 8
January 10, 2008


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Research unit moves into new facility

Place called home

by Jeff Green

The Centre for the Study of Music, Media, and Place (MMaP) has a new space to spread its wings and grow. It officially opens later this month. Here staff members are seen near some state-of-the-art digital audio equipment in the facility. From left: Janice Esther Tulk, project co-ordinator; Maureen Houston, secretary; Dr. Tom Gordon, director, School of Music and member of the MMaP’s executive committee; Dr. Beverley Diamond, director, MMaP; and Spencer Crewe, digital audio studio co-ordinator.

One of the most active research centres at Memorial is kicking off the New Year – and its fifth anniversary – in style.

The Centre for the Study of Music, Media, and Place (MMaP) officially unveils its new home later this month during a two-day reception Jan. 22-23 that will include special lectures, tours, demonstrations, workshops and performances.

The centre, which was established in 2003, has moved from a small suite of offices in the annex of the St. John’s Arts and Culture Centre to part of the space of the former Art Gallery of Newfoundland and Labrador.

Although staff and faculty will still be located in the same building – the Arts and Culture Centre is adjacent to Memorial’s main campus – the MMaP now has more room to spread its wings and grow.

Thanks to $250,000 in funding from both the federal and provincial governments for renovations, the new MMaP now includes production stations, library and meeting room, offices and a performance area.

It all adds up to be a much more dynamic space for researchers, musicians and the general public, said Dr. Bev Diamond, Canada Research Chair in Ethnomusicology and director of the MMAP.

“It’s good to have a presence for traditional music in the Arts and Culture Centre,” she said. “The new space provides research resources and production tools for faculty, staff, and graduate students in ethnomusicology. We’re happy to have community researchers drop by however, and delighted that our new performance space has been useful for several of the traditional music ensembles from St. John’s diverse communities.”

The centre’s broad mandate includes supporting academic and community-based research focused on traditional music from this province. In the past five years, it has produced archival CDs, websites, publications and regularly hosts lectures.

On Jan. 23, a formal ceremony will be held to swing open the doors to the new facility. Dr. Eddy Campbell, acting president, will be in attendance, as will Tourism, Culture and Recreation Minister Clyde Jackman, and members of the traditional music and university communities.

“Along with our partners in the Department of Folklore, the School of Music is delighted with this new ‘street front’ location for MMaP,” said its director, Dr. Tom Gordon. “With neighbours like the public library and the performance facilities in the Arts and Culture Centre, MMaP has great opportunities to encourage dialogue between researchers and tradition-bearers close to the public eye and ear.”

Meanwhile, the new MMaP facility is already being put to good use. Dr. Diamond said in addition to this month’s open house, the centre has already hosted a series of musicians and performers and more will be coming through in the coming weeks and months.

“Community groups such as the Women’s Accordion Circle and the Shape-Note Singers have been rehearsing in our gallery space,” she noted. “We have done consultations with a number of community researchers or institutions including the Town of Placentia, the Cowhead Museum, the Flatrock Museum and the Burin Folk Arts Council.

“These connections are a modest beginning to what I hope MMaP can become as a centre that links university music researchers with communities and mobilizes wide-ranging research on traditional and popular music in Newfoundland and Labrador.”

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